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Supervising Workers

One of the marks of an organisation that is able to respond well to concerns about the welfare of children and young people is that there is a well-defined structure of supervision of those working with children and young people.

Please note that the word ‘supervision’ is used here in the general sense of defining a working relationship in which one person is accountable to another rather than literally being present while the person is undertaking their task. We use the term ‘close supervision’ to define this latter situation.

Organisations where there is no accountability structure leave themselves open to situations where workers become casual about safeguarding matters and put children and young people, or themselves, at risk. These organisations are also very attractive to those who are intent on finding opportunities to harm children and young people as their behaviour is less likely to be recognised at an early stage. Organisations where those given leadership responsibilities know that it is their duty to maintain proper standards in safeguarding and to address inappropriate behaviour are much more likely to sustain a culture in which the welfare of children and young people is a priority.

An essential element of any job or role description will define
  • who the postholder will be accountable to; and

  • who the postholder will be responsible for

All new workers will need to be supervised more closely until you are sure that they are working safely and within the code of behaviour that you have adopted. It is also helpful if a habit of helping one another out in developing best practice can be encouraged. Without being intrusive, workers can help one another maintain the culture of good practice that is the key to safeguarding children and young people.

Safeguarding issues should be regularly on the agenda of meetings of children’s and young people’s leaders in the church so that all workers are constantly reminded of the need for vigilance. It is good practice that regular meetings of all workers take place to share thoughts about the children and young people and the activities that
you are running. This helps to give encouragement and to exchange concerns about individuals.

A well-defined structure of accountability will help to ensure that if one of the workers is behaving inappropriately that behaviour will be identified and reported promptly to the Designated Person for Safeguarding. All workers will know who they should speak to in the first instance when they see someone behaving inappropriately.

See also Concerns About a Worker in the Church.
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